Bikers Against Child Abuse changing little East Texas lives - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Bikers Against Child Abuse changing little East Texas lives

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TYLER (KYTX) - A biker group here in East Texas dedicates all it's time to helping abused children. 

We've found a lot of people don't know our area has a Biker's Against Child Abuse organization, so we set out to show you what they do, and how they're changing the lives of abused children all across the region.

"My job is just Monday through Friday, my real job."

His real job, meaning the one that pays the bills, but Ditchwitch, as everyone calls him, has a very important second job. He's the president of the East Texas Woodbine Chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse, or BACA. 

"We're here to empower abused kids and we want to make it so they're not afraid of the world in which they live," Ditchwitch explains.

He spends every second outside of work riding his motorcycle to visit kids from Texarkana all the way down to Rusk County.

"It's what I do," he says. "It has taken over and it's my passion."

Once abuse is reported, a child is taken to an agency like the Children's Advocacy Center in Smith County. 

"Kids are dealing with trust, dealing with sometimes the aftermath of being removed from families," says Children's Advocacy Center Forensic Interviewer Jennifer Kelly. 

Kelly says abused children with issues like that are linked up with BACA members who become their mentors.

"We invite them into our family," Ditchwitch says. "We do visits, we do a little ceremony, we escort them to court when the time comes, so yeah whatever they need!"

"I know of instances where they have camped outside overnight, outside victims' homes just to provide safety and comfort to that family," Kelly says.

Therapists at the Children's Advocacy Center have a model courtroom to show kids what they'll be dealing with while in court. Usually the child will sit up at the front, and the perpetrator is in the middle of the room, not too far away. In these circumstances BACA will come line the courtroom chairs to make the child feels safe while in court.

Just last month, one child's perpetrator made a plea earlier than expected, and she had to give a last minute statement.

"For a victim, having to be put on the stand a day early could be very traumatic," Kelly says.

45 minutes before the hearing, the Children's Advocacy Center called in a favor from Ditchwitch.

"I was able to get five of us to show up in the courtroom and for that young lady to turn around and see us walking in, I mean it's giving me goose bumps now. It just changes her whole thought," Ditchwitch says.

He's changed the lives of about 75 East Texas children forever, and he wouldn't have it any other way.

BACA kids technically age out of the system at 18, but Ditchwitch says many stick around the BACA crowd and even go on to become advocates to other children. 

Ditchwitch spends all his free time riding through many different states to visit current and former BACA children. 

If you want to learn more about BACA, click here.  BACA Woodbine Chapter meetings are open to the public. 
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